Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Problem with Going to Cinemas in Other Countries

As you may have guessed from a few of my previous posts, I'm getting into subtitling and foreign media in a big way. In the past I've mentioned some of the problems with Netflix's subtitling and how well Crunchyroll subtitles anime. Today I'd like to talk about the problems with visiting the cinema when living in another country, like I do in Spain.

Last week I went to see Suicide Squad with my brother, who doesn't speak much Spanish. This meant that the best option was to watch the film with its original audio and Spanish subtitles.

However, there is one problem with this. We were watching the film in English, with Spanish subtitles, as English speakers. This meant that the subtitles were for Spanish speakers, and it's just a happy coincidence that the film was almost exclusively in the English language. Yet since we're English speakers, we could enjoy the dialogue since it was almost exclusively in English.


There are a few parts of the film in Spanish, as well as parts in what I believe was a fictional language. These parts were still only subtitled in Spanish like the rest of the film. This was obviously quite problematic for my brother, who was briefly out of the loop at a rather important moment in the story.

This made me realise that the original version wasn't really for us. The subtitles were for those with hearing difficulty or for people who hate dubbing. If you're watching the original version of a film because you speak the language of the original version, you're going to run into a few problems if the film features any languages you don't speak.

Ideally, I'd like to see the original versions of films shown as originals, complete with subtitles where appropriate. They could always have two sets of subtitles in these rare instances, especially when scenes are hugely important to the plot of the film! That said, they couldn't have saved the Suicide Squad...

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